study art therapy

I am frequently asked two questions: whether I can recommend to study art therapy and where to do it. The first question is easy to answer: Yes. Art therapy is great and I would choose it again. The second question is addressed in this blogpost about universities with art therapy studies in Germany.

brush and whisk with traces of paint on the studio floor

not all art therapy is alike

In Germany, “art therapist” is not a protected professional title like e.g. physician or psychotherapist. Accordingly, the qualifications behind the title “art therapist” vary widely. From weekend workshops to extended trainings to Bachelor and Master degrees, everything is called art therapy. So, you should take a close look: A study of several years obviously offers deep knowledge in comparison to just a weekend workshop. This is especially important, because as an art therapist you therapeutically and artistically work with (vulnerable) people. In order to do this work responsibly and safely for both, your clients and yourself, you need profound knowledge and professional training.

training or study?

If you already have a university degree in a subject related to art therapy (e.g. art pedagogy), under certain circumstances a profound training can be a good option. However, in general I would prefer an academic degree in art therapy rather than just a training because of two reasons: It offers several years of intensive study. The other reason is the increasing academization of our discipline, meaning the career prospects are much better with an academic degree than just with a training.

which is the best university for me?

There are several universities in Germany that offer art therapy studies – with different entry requirements and focuses. Most of them are full-time courses of study. Some also offer part-time studies you can pursue while working.

As for myself, I studied from 2003 – 2008 at the Hochschule für Kunsttherapie (today: Nürtingen-Geislingen University) and since 2016 I’m a research assistant at the HKS – University of applied sciences and arts in Ottersberg. I like both universities very much and can only recommend them. But our community is rather small. So I have contact to the other universities mentioned below or teach there.

To decide which course of study is the right one for you, see for yourself. You know best what suits you. Check the information you get on the websites. Then get in contact with the institutions and see for yourself digitally, by phone or on site. Universities offer a variety of ways to get an insight. For example, at our university the HKS – University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Ottersberg, you can find:

  • open day
    next date november 2020
  • hospitational day
    open classes
    next date june 25 2020 (digital)
  • student adivsory service
    free of charge
    general study counselling and advice on the application procedure
    advisory service for students by students
    student advisory service for foreign students
  • portfolio course
    in the current situation around Corona the portfolio courses are online and free of charge
  • art summer
    with art courses and further education
HKS - University of Applied Sciences in Ottersberg
my workplace: HKS – University of applied sciences and arts in Ottersberg

at which universities can I study art therapy?

Below you find a list of universities where you can study art therapy. All are members of the German association for art therapy (DFKGT) and/or the German society for creative arts therapies (DGKT). The commissions of these associations demand and ensure the educational quality standards. You can therefore be sure that these institutions offer qualified art therapy education.

Good luck with your university applications!

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